Two to Travel (And Tango)

Travel Tips and Inspiration From Millennials, For Millennials

Earning Miles Has Never Been Easier: Why We Love OneWorld

Elite status keeps flying enjoyable. In our first post on miles and flights on this blog, we tried to drive home what a difference elite status can make in your flying experience. ¬†First class upgrades when available. Priority screening through airport security and the ability to be one of the first people to board the airplane. Double miles earned on every flight, which means award tickets to keep traveling! When I’m not in first class, I’m always in the emergency exit row. And when I call American Airlines, I never wait more than 30 seconds to talk to an agent. When I called Delta yesterday as a regular member and was on hold for 42 minutes, I realized how special that is. You want to get elite status, end of story. And here’s the good news: Not only has earning airline miles never been easier, it’s also never been easier to earn elite status on American Airlines thanks to the OneWorld Alliance they are part of!

And so I’m excited to say that in less than 5 months, I’ve re-qualified for Platinum with American Airlines. It usually takes me all year, as I get the final few miles needed in the last week of the calendar year.

But here’s the crazy thing: I’ve only flown 3,611 miles on American Airlines this year.

Despite only flying 3,611 miles on American Airlines, I have managed to re-qualify for Platinum, which requires 50,000 miles. How?

It takes 50,000 miles to re-qualify for platinum. But I’ve only flown 3,611 miles on American Airlines…¬†The numbers don’t compute, right? That’s where the OneWorld Alliance comes in.

Turns out the first half of this year has been a busy year full of international travel for me. And so the other 46,389 miles flown have been on LAN Airlines and British Airways. When you fly these airlines, as well as a host of others that you can find here, you earn miles for American. Think about that for a moment. If you’re taking a trip to Europe this summer, or Asia or parts of South America, one trip alone, whether it is on American or not, can get you half way to low tier “gold” elite status. One trip gets you half way to priority security screening, extra miles, preferred seats, and more! Now for the crazy thing: Most people don’t even bother to understand how alliances work, and so those miles go unclaimed!

As great as airline alliances are, the benefits are slowly disappearing. United now requires that you not only fly 50,000 miles to reach their AAdvantage Platinum equivalent Gold Premier, but you have to spend $5,000 “premier qualifying dollars”. This is just a fancy way to say, you need to spend 5k with United, United Express, or Copa. Tricky, tricky! To reach Delta Gold, the same scheme is in place: 50,000 miles AND $5,000 on Delta flights.

So will American change? Sadly, someday, yes. But for now, the ease with which you can earn elite status is but one of the many reasons we find ourselves loyal to American Airlines and the OneWorld Alliance! And if you fly Delta or United, you may be surprised how easily you can still earn status, and if nothing else, you can still earn miles on Delta or United when flying their partner airlines which again adds up to more chances to redeem miles for free flights. As for me, American need not worry: The rest of the year is exclusively on American Airlines, hopefully with several upgrades to first class throughout!

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  1. Okay- we have miles on some of those OneWorld partners, how to we consolidate it all to AA? What about hotel rewards/partners?

    • Awesome! A few ways…

      First, make sure you have an AAdvantage account. And if you have already had one, we can also talk about submitting mileage requests for those flights you took, provided it’s been within the last 12 months.

      1. When you’re first purchasing the flight, usually next to the area you can enter you frequent flyer number it will have a drop down menu. Many people just presume that is only for the airline they are flying, but if you click the drop down, the various other options (like American Airlines come up) and that’s when you want to enter your frequent flyer number.

      2. If it’s for a flight you have already taken, and it’s within the last 12 months, follow this link: You will need your ticket number, which you can get from the itinerary that was emailed to you when you purchased the flight.

      Here’s an important tip though: Set a calendar reminder to follow up with American 30-45 days later. In my experience, you get the miles, but you often have to stay on top of them!

  2. You two just blew my mind. I flew to Hong Kong Hong with Cathay and I’m flying to Madrid with Iberia and never even would have thought that I could earn miles on American! AWESOME! I am officially signing up to receive your blog via email now!

    • Happy to help! And by the way- congrats! Those two flights alone will put you over 25,000 and give you AAdvantage Gold- which means priority security screening and boarding of the aircraft, a 25% bonus earned on all miles flown, and a chance to get better seats and sometimes the occasional upgrade!

      Please do sign up to follow us. On the right side of the page you can have every new post emailed to you, or if you use anything like Feedly you can follow our blog RSS feed!

  3. I am on the Star alliance but I’m happy to hear that any alliance is a blessing and helping flyers out, but then I read articles like this below and worry that the alliances the airlines brag about so proudly will slowly loose their benefits.

    • I agree. I think it’s been a tough year for frequent flyers with several changes, none of them really any good. Thus, you enjoy the benefits as they currently exist and keep an eye on the future.

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